Taxi scams in Istanbul are an unfortunate reality known by all. Some taxi drivers see the tourists as an opportunity to overcharge them by confusing them, taking them through longer routes or asking for more money. All of these can really spoil your trip and make you never get on a taxi ever again. In this case it would be a much better option to use public transportation to avoid any scams.
However, if you must take a taxi, we have some tips for you to be guarded against the scamming taxi drivers.
First and foremost, we highly recommend -and we cannot stress this
enough- you to download either BiTaksi or iTaksi on your smartphone before you take a taxi. These two apps work pretty similar to Uber. Since Uber is not legal in Turkey, you have to use one of these apps. The reason why we recommend you to use these apps is that only registered taxis will show up to take you from wherever you are and you will be able to know the licence plate of the taxi as well as approximately how much the trip will cost. Yet, this does not mean some taxi drivers will not try to scam you.
When you get on the taxi that came to pick you up, make sure that you have just enough cash in Turkish lira. You can calculate how much it will cost by using the application and prepare some money accordingly. If you offer dollars or euros, it is almost certain that they will overcharge you. And if you offer a lot of money, they will overcharge you as well.
Also, make sure that the Taksimetre, which a meter found in every taxi, is turned on when you start the trip. The taksimetre starts with 4 TL and with
every kilometer it charges 2,5 TL. The minimum amount that they charge is 10 TL. If the taxi driver does not start the Taksimetre, ask him to turn it on. This way you only pay the amount that shows up on the Taksimetre unless the driver takes a longer route to get you to your destination to charge you more money. In this case, you have to check where you are going constantly and be vigilant. Also, remember that there is no night rate. We hope that these tips will help you to travel safely.